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A wrongfully convicted boy is sent to a brutal desert detention camp where he joins the job of digging holes for some mysterious reason.



(novel), (screenplay)
1,135 ( 375)
3 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Noah Poletiek ...
Steven Kozlowski ...
Lump (as Steve Kozlowski)
Bus Driver / Kissed Stage Coach Driver


"But if you forget to come back for Madame Zeroni, you and your family will be cursed for always and eternity." Those were the exact words spoken to young Elya Yelnats the day he forgot to repay Madame Zeroni. From then on his family was cursed with bad luck. One hundred years later Stanley Yelnats IV is accused of stealing a pair of cleats from a major league baseball player and sent to Camp Green Lake (a dry lake bed in the middle of the desert). It never rains at Camp Green Lake, it hasn't for one hundred years. The secretive and mysterious Warden has each inmate spend every day digging one hole to "build character." But when an artifact from the famous "Kissin' Kate" Barlow is found in a hole, the Warden forces the boys to work double time leading Stanley to deduce they're digging because the Warden is looking for something. But what? And how is the mystery of Camp Green Lake connected to Stanley's family curse? Written by O.G.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

hole | camp | digging | bad luck | curse | See All (200) »


Can you dig it? See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for violence, mild language and some thematic elements | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

18 April 2003 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Das Geheimnis von Green Lake  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$16,300,155 (USA) (18 April 2003)


$67,325,559 (USA) (8 August 2003)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The animals shown in the movie and referred to as yellow spotted lizards are in fact Bearded dragons with good makeup and CGI fangs. The Beardies were provided by the Sandfire Dragon Ranch. See more »


When Armpit is dancing, when they first walk out of the building, Squid puts his hat on. In the next shot, his hat is off and he puts it back on again. See more »


[first lines]
[Barfbag walks towards a rattlesnake]
X-Ray: Hey, Barfbag. What are you doing?
[Barfbag takes his shoe and sock off and steps on the snake, which bites him]
Barfbag: [yells] Aaaaaah!
See more »

Crazy Credits

At the very end of the credits, Hector "Zero" Zeroni quotes the curse his great-great-great-grandmother made with her accent and speech patterns. See more »


References The Goonies (1985) See more »


Shake 'Em On Down
Written by Alan Lomax & Mississippi Fred McDowell
Performed by North Mississippi Allstars
Courtesy of Tone-Cool Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Holes: 6/10
20 June 2003 | by (Anywhere, USA) – See all my reviews

Holes is a wolf in sheep's clothing. It appears to be a simple Disney kids film, but turns into so much more. Of course, that's where it's dragged down: when it tries to be a Disney film. At times it has quality of older films that are PG because there's not much offensive material in it, but at times it seems like a film fit for a Disney audience. When I went into Holes, I expected the script to be mutilated from the book, even though it's written by the author Louis Sachar. However, it's similar to the book, except with both a few welcome differences and a few unwelcome ones.

At times, Holes has some very believable, palpable drama. You could feel along with the characters, no matter how undeveloped they were. However, Disney couldn't make a movie that was very good for the ENTIRE movie. Nope, they had to through in some scatological humor, much revolving around a character with the nickname of `Armpit'. Also, the film relied too much on flashback for most of the movie. It had uneven cuts, with much of the time in the middle of the movie revolving around the flashback, with not enough time at the present time. Although Holes wouldn't have worked without flashback, there was just too much of it (and it did a Fight Club: a flashback in a flashback).

The plot revolves around Stanley Yelnats IV (Shia LaBeouf). Every man in his family is named Stanley because it is Yelnats backwards. For some reason, this didn't work in the movie. He's accused for stealing shoes donated to an orphanage by baseball star Clyde Livingston (Rick Fox), while they just hit him on the head. Stanley thinks they fell from the sky. When he goes to court, Stanley chooses between prison or Camp Green Lake. Because his family is poor (his father is working on an invention to cure the smell of shoes), and he's never been to camp before, he chooses Camp Green Lake. Instead of an actual camp, however, they have to dig a five by five hole every day to `build character'. But is there some ulterior motive?

Holes is a very enjoyable movie, with part drama, part comedy (however crude and PG it may be), part thriller, part action. I liked to go along with Stanley, and the other denizens at the camp. However, there are a few fatal mistakes. First off, Sachar took out the most important part of Stanley's character development. In the book, Stanley was an overweight and teased kid, which helps with his change throughout the book. However, here he's a scrawny kid, and it doesn't help out his character. Also, at the end, Sachar tries to wrap everything up in a nice little package and express ship it to our hearts, while in the book `you have to fill in the holes yourself.' It wasn't that hard to do in the book, so why would movie audiences have a tough time?

The acting was good from the adult players, who include Sigourney Weaver, Jon Voight, Tim Blake Nelson, Henry Winkler, Siobhan Fallon, Patricia Arquette, and Eartha Kitt, who plays wacky fortuneteller Madame Zeroni. I really like Nelson, and he reminded me of his role in O Brother, Where Art Thou, although I haven't seen that movie for a long time. Weaver seemed obligated to do this film, while Winkler needed the role. All of them were good. I recognized Fallon as Beatrice from Men in Black, she has a distinctive voice. Overall, I would say Holes is a good movie, but you will like it more if you haven't read the book.

My rating: 6/10

Rated PG for violence, mild language and some thematic elements.

20 of 37 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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